Mar 5 2015

pattern play
on a grey march day

It’s the shadows that reveal the pattern: dark light white, dark light white. The days roll into a fog of sameness, and I am stuck, wallowing in boredom, or ennui, or something worse: a voice that whispers not good enough.

Habits form and are broken. Wounds heal and become scars. Time is relentless and finite and never sits still.

Chaos is the natural order of things. We fight it, stacking plates and sorting socks, pushing snow and building walls, but it’s always there, lurking around every corner.

I kind of like that.

Except when I don’t, but that’s the nature of life.

I think a lot lately of a book that changed my life once, a very long time ago. Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham. It’s essentially a book about giving up, accepting, trying less and being more. At least that’s what it was for me.

The joy of sinking into who you are rather than who you want to be.

Walking into the sea of self and washing yourself clean of life’s dust.

Standing naked in today’s mirror and not cringing at your own humanity. Not wishing to be something or someone or someplace other.

I cook dinner and wash the plates. Again and again and again. I tidy the room and sweep the floors and straighten the papers on my desk.

The chaos always returns.

We spend our lives fighting for order in a world that offers anarchy.

And that’s the lesson. That’s the pattern.

Just now, the plates are clean.







Mar 3 2015

behind bars

and curtains of words

pecking at windows
in hunger

and i need
sharper claws
stronger tools

bony fingers
scrabble signal

red-bellied woodpecker
big-beaked bluejay
tiny chickadee

all surviving
huddled together

flutter waiting

still flying




Feb 26 2015

time’s measured in a
thin line on a cat’s back

cats know more about survival
than humans these days

hunt and kill
eat and sleep
play and rest

i fear, some days
we’ve lost our instincts

other days i fear
we’ve only buried them
beneath a thin veneer
of {un}civilized
virtual banter


and we’re riding down a too steep hill
paved with words
we cannot say

art[?] we should never look at
hanging from trees

and strange fruit
dangling from vines
we cannot reach

i don’t know where he goes
when he heads for the woods

or whether his plan is
kill    nap    climb
(circle one and only one)

but some days
i’m envious of his ability

to walk away

except, of course,
for dinner




Linking in over at dVersePoets today for a bit of joust, the title is a line
from Claudia’s poem. (Sorry Team Brian–I’m such a crazy cat lady!)

Feb 24 2015

merlin’s tree

planted from a seed wrapped in blood-soaked cloth
on the edge of a forest scarred by arrow

blind-told witness held by treachery
and stars

in the season of growth and green glory

each ring forged of gold
crowned by emerald

each year fed by tear
and ambition

each branch forced to sky
by the sap of lost soldier

broken lock

buried heart

bitter potion

taking root

in the foibles of sand




Feb 21 2015

two by two


rubbing shoulders

with a world

determined to polish

all the rough






Feb 19 2015

the waltz of february

We’re all doing it around here, slip, sidestep, slide, tiptoe, baby-step, baby-step, slide.

The hard part is the smile, the cold wind makes your teeth hurt and even when you’re back inside, safe and sound and all warmed up, you can’t shake the feeling of trapped.

Everything you say sounds like whining, even to those in the same boat as you.

And you know it’s silly to complain. In the grand scheme of things it’s not that bad, but somehow, you’re miserable all the same. So you accept this misery, work hard to embrace it, thinking you’ll hold on tight and wait it out. The light has changed, coming earlier and leaving later and the shape of shadows is shifting. You accept that there is, indeed, a light at the end of the tunnel, it’s just hard to see because you’re snow-blind.

You make promises to yourself, today is the day I will get this and that and the other thing done, only to find yourself huddled next to the fire at four o’clock yet again with only knitting and reading in the forecast. And that’s not a bad thing, that’s never a bad thing, only you can’t concentrate, the words on the page keep sliding together and the yarn gets all tangled and you find yourself dreaming of flowers.

Two bunches of tulips this week, a salve for the soul, a symbol of promise, orange and yellow on a backdrop of grey that comes in more shades than you’d ever imagined.

Shoveling becomes your daily workout, snow up to your knees and even higher when it’s time to climb through the drifts to rake the roof again. Whoever thought you’d be spending your days like this, moving snow from one place to the other when you don’t even plan to leave the house? But it must be done and so you “do what you must do, and you do it well,” because Dylan usually knows what he’s talking about, and besides, if you don’t, the roof will leak.

You’re tired of complaining, and tired of being tired of complaining, but that seems to fall under the same category of must be done. You try to keep it to yourself because no one wants to hear it, but heavy sighs and curse words keep escaping from between your severely-chapped lips. You’ve already used a large vat of lotion, your skin sucking it up faster than you can apply it, because you cannot quench the thirst of winter.

In between all of this, you laugh, or cackle, sometimes a bit too loud, too hard, or at almost nothing at all, because this, all of this, is what stir-crazy sounds like.

And it just keeps whirling around in this tiny square house, in the guise of a draft that won’t let you get warm.

The only thing you can do is write your way through it. On a good day, you can write yourself into a better mood. And then two-step yourself ‘cross the floor with a smirk on your face that would never cut it in public.

But it’s okay, because when you do go out, everyone you see wears the same shell-shocked grin. Which at first glance, looks like a grimace.

And February just keeps tapping her toes in time to a song only she can hear, pulling hard at those strings as we dance, dance, dance.




Feb 17 2015

tomorrow’s whispers
(with a side of regret)

i never did find
those mittens

those blue knitted ones
that let my fingers peek out

i lost them in the coldest
of winters
the one that froze my heart
to a place now forgotten

but i still remember

those mittens




Feb 14 2015

open to love


the best place to be




Happy Valentine’s Day, Mr. M.




And Happy Valentine’s Day to you.

Because celebrating love is always a good thing.




Feb 12 2015

the beautiful ugly

This is what I search for, again and again and again, the beauty in the ugliness, the pinwheel starburst of falling dead blooms, the light from a window reflecting nothing but snow, the pain in my neck and the crick in my back that reminds me how much I am alive.

The persistence of water, always finding a way. The cracks and wrinkles and fissures that speak of life. No surface remains unmarred, unless it’s perpetually hidden.

Today’s new coat of snow hides the old dirty version. Another layer of time added to the heap, a temporary stratum calendar.

Later, we’ll watch it melt and forget that it ever existed.

The river at our feet proving nothing more than motion.

Snow crystal transformed into sun glint.

Always rising.






Feb 10 2015

the gods of arbitrary growth

years ago
i planted two poplar trees
side by side
out front
in the corner of the yard

and one grew taller than the other

and i feel like that’s probably
a metaphor for something
or at least it should be

but all i see are trees
and words about trees
stamped across the sky
in a tangle
of branches

all the meaning i prescribe
comes from within
or the trees
and what i choose to name
the one on the left

my cat
can zoom straight up the trunk
leaving scratches
and cheshire grin
in a weathered trunk
time map

but i like to sit
beneath the canopy
and listen
to stories
told by dancing
flicker leaves
in the shade
of yesterday’s